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Media factsheet: Windrush Compensation Scheme

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The Windrush generation were wronged by successive governments. To right those wrongs, the Windrush Compensation Scheme was established so that people can get compensation for their suffering.

The scheme has been extended so that it will remain open until 2 April 2023, to give people plenty of time to make a claim.

About the Scheme

The scheme was designed with a leading barrister, Martin Forde QC and made to be fair and accessible.

A call for evidence, comprehensive consultation and country wide visits to affected communities to gain direct knowledge of exactly how those affected suffered informed the design of the Scheme.

Who is eligible for compensation?

It is open to almost anyone from a Commonwealth country who arrived and settled in the UK before 1973 who was impacted by not being able to demonstrate their lawful status. Certain children and grandchildren of those arriving before 1973 and some close family members may also be eligible to apply.

It is also open to anyone from any nationality who has the right to live or work in the UK without any restrictions or is now a British Citizen, and arrived in the UK before the end of 1988.

What losses will be compensated for?

Importantly, the Scheme is comprehensive entitling people to a wide range of losses. This means people can apply under multiple categories and there is no overall cap on the amount someone can receive. Categories for loss include:

  • Employment
  • Detention, deportation removal and returns
  • Housing
  • Health
  • Education
  • Impact on normal daily life
  • Immigration fees and associated legal costs
  • There is also a wider discretion to compensate for novel or unusual claims.

Changes to the Scheme – mitigating losses

Following feedback from community leaders and those affected, changes have been made to the Scheme.

To make the Scheme more flexible to those who have suffered losses, the Scheme’s mitigation policy is also being amended.

This means that the Home Office will consider any evidence of the steps that someone took to resolve their situation, even if those steps were not taken immediately after suffering a loss.

These changes mean affected individuals may qualify for higher awards.

Support for claimants

The Scheme has been designed so that people do not need lawyers to make a claim.

However, for those who want support, the Home Office has funded Citizens Advice to provide independent advice.

The expert service enables those affected to get independent advice when submitting a compensation claim form without having to use a lawyer.

This programme will be extended for a further six months, with a new contract tender for the service to be launched shortly to provide support for the duration of the Scheme.

Payments made so far

The Scheme has been up and running since April 2019 and within just four months the first payment was made.

Detailed compensation statistics will be published in February as part of the Home Office’s transparency data release.

Separately, Windrush Taskforce figures reveal that over 8,000 people have been provided with documentation confirming their status. For the latest numbers on those helped, see here.

Independent adviser

Martin Forde has made an invaluable contribution to both the design and implementation of the Scheme.

To ensure the Scheme continues to have independent oversight, an advert for an independent person will be brought forward in due course. Martin Forde will continue to provide support on an interim basis and will be eligible to apply for the post.

Promotion of the Scheme

To encourage people to apply for compensation, members of the Windrush Compensation Scheme and Taskforce have attended over 30 events across the country as part of an extensive engagement programme.

These are open to everyone of any nationality and will give people an opportunity to hear more about the Scheme and how to apply.

More information on where and when the events are being held can be found here.

We are also working with community groups to identify further ways to promote the Scheme.

How to apply for compensation

It is quick and easy to make an application, and help is available to those who require additional support to make a claim.

  • Claim forms can be downloaded from here.
  • Individuals can request a form to be sent by post by calling our helpline on 0800 678 1925. They can also check eligibility and request any additional support they may need to complete the form using that helpline.
  • Guidance on completing the application can be found here.

Individuals can also email with additional questions or request a call back.

We will consider each claim based on the information provided. Whether you receive a payment, and how much, will depend on the details of your claim.

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